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Tools | Such a Petty Subject

This is a rant and a declaration to myself to stay strong, stay positive and be proud of myself. I will try to keep it short, and hopefully without too much swearing, but this issue just annoys me.

Last night I performed a ritual I had been planning for the most part of last month, and leading up to it I had been open to many things. Sadness, upset, bad news etc. I utilise these feelings by bottling them especially for times when I want to release them by turning them into something slightly calmer. That goes for the over excess of goodness that comes my way too. I like to be 50/50 as much as I can. There comes a point on my path where i stubble upon a block in the road; and this refers to people I encounter, whether they are good or bad. As a loner I have the advantage of sitting in the sidelines as people walk by, and I am able to watch and observe them. I don’t talk to people much, though I am trying, but thanks to be observations I am able to wade through a sea of people and stick with the individuals who really matter.

Genuine people are easily ignored, as one friend put it in an email, “Idiots are scared or intimidated by the genuine people, who seem to live a life of equilibrium and splendour without having to show the turmoil inside. These individuals, like you (referring to me) are always overlooked, judged and misunderstood. In time someone will stand up and praise you for showing them the way to their light. Don’t let these fools see that turmoil/drive, keep that passion for yourself. That’s enough to keep them guessing and it will drive them wild.”

That touched me, but I didn’t understand what it meant until today. (I had to dig it out of a folder I made on Yahoo, back in 2009! I am old…). The only reason I bring that up is for two queries really. One, what is the fuss about being a know it all with experience? I thought that was what people were looking for? And secondly, why is the majority drawn to people who preach utter crap?

I received an email this morning that kind of pissed me off. After working such a beautiful ritual, I finally went to sleep at 5am then awoke at 8am feeling refreshed and glad my ritual was over. Everything was fine until this horrible ‘idiot’-I called her/it an eejit in the 2nd or 3rd reply-who thought it was fair to bombard me with accusations of being a know it all and a fool for pumping the values of tools, symbols, altars etc. Firstly, let me just say to those of you who are new to the craft, the literal truth to using such correspondences are purely for magickal work, practice and most importantly to help you understand the spiritual truth. If you can’t separate literal values from the spiritual then please I beg you, practice and read a whole lot more. Eventually you will see, and eventually you will be an amazing practitioner as long as the OTB permits.

I was tempted to be a fool and film myself reading the conversations but I shan’t. I’ll copy up parts instead:

“There is no need for all that stuff. The occult stuff is old and no one uses it as its just words from dead men. What you are doing is just a waste of time… Get over it already.”

(She was referring to my occult series, yet another blow and now I feel to scrap them all)
My reply-“the occult and philosophies from centuries past are the base of the new age mountain you stand on. Without them you wouldn’t have very much to stand on now, would you?”

This is from the first email also:
“No one cares about those symbols. I saw your video on magic squares and thought how dumb. Why would anyone care.”

MR-“I think they are important. Not many people do care as they want a quick magick fix like you I presume? But there is a small group of people who do like that sort of theory and I am just one in hundreds who happens to break it down or open up a new area of intrigue for them.”

From the second reply:
“Oh so that’s why you talk about occult? Because you have experience? No one has experience these days. All that pretend magic from those people in robes are total fakes. What do you have to say about that?”

-“I have no idea what you are referring to. As far as my experience goes, I am not here to prove anything to anyone. Harry Potter perhaps? Yeah, that’s fictional.”
(That was all I wrote actually…)

Third, and last email:
“How long have you been ‘reading’? Clearly you are too stupid to realise magic is within. Not in the tools or those squares. Seriously get some proper education… BTW you are boring as hell, no wonder people don’t care about what you have to say.”

MR-“I know magick is within, but how else are you supposed to feel it if you don’t practice with tools, herbs and Kameas? Maybe not Kameas as you are too stupid for any angel/demon to come close enough to mock you. You are a fool for thinking I am just a ‘know it all’ young woman. I have been a practitioner for 13 years. I hate when people think its okay to bang on about why they should or shouldn’t use tools. Its such a petty topic. It doesn’t matter where or what the tool is, you’ll need it someday.”

The only thing I can think of are the beautiful Golden Dawn videos and layouts on various blogs and websites, as one main example. Yes they wear robes, yes they carve symbols in the air, but do you actually know what any of that means really? For a while I thought that stuff was theatrical, but as my studies grew and my practices flourished I found the reason to do them. It was honour and respect to the forces we often call on for magickal assistance, and mostly for a physical bonding with the divinity/universe surrounding us. How can someone state that the OTB is all around, and within when we restrict its natural flow to save face? Ever wonder why your magick isn’t as potent as others?

The Hermetic Principle of Correspondence is a great place to understand why you are taught about these in the first place. Here is my link to that.

The next time you feel the need to make a video or write to me or someone else complaining about their practices, watch/read all of their stuff first, get to know them (that way you have the right to an opinion) and make sure you have a leg to stand on. Better still ignore them or, go fuck a dog before you open your mouth to and about me and my practices. If people want the bullshit that is out there, then that’s fine. That is up to them. But I support, encourage and honour all the genuine folks, like myself, who don’t give a shit. We have the Gods on our side.

End.

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Why Only Wicca?

Questions:
Why only Wicca?
Do you not feel you could step outside for a while, if yes why? If no, why?
What scares you about being outside of that comfort zone?
If you have stepped out, how is it now? Scary, bad or a great experience?
If you came into the world of magick through other portals, how and why?

Video here!

I wonder what it is that stops people from gaining a little more knowledge or potential. Wicca has done a lot for the majority of pagans out there. It created a safe haven and a solid religious structure, taught a lot of people how to honour the male and female deities, the heavens and our bodies. I like that, but there is so much more out there. Golden Dawn anyone? Thelema? Witchcraft? Those are part of the greater world of magickal insight that I have been part of for years, and without them I could never have reached the point I am at now. So what is it that makes people feel the need to snatch bits from them and run back to the circle if they aren’t going to try researching and learning properly?

I am ranting a little, and I don’t mean to offend anyone. I am just wondering is all…

Sy, x

The Magick of Books (photo)

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Via AussieWitch90 and a bunch of other folks on FaceBook. This instruction is simple, clear and precise. Though I have to point out, not just wiccans do what is stated. Occultists, pagans of all kinds, magickal geeks and witches too. Share the love people!


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Being Pagan Is So Trendy… Unless You Are Learned

What inspired you to vlog? How do I become a Youtube vlogger in the pagan community? Can you teach me how to read tarot so I can vlog too? Can you teach me how to be a wiccan/witch like you? Oh, did you know [insert something obvious here], because you did or said it wrong. – this is just a tiny sample of the questions I am asked daily from viewers on Youtube. I am lucky that honesty comes easily and I will be honest and assertive where needed, but it is increasing day by day. The one thing a lot of people have in common is a lack of understanding and theory when it comes to magick. They assume that Wicca is just a hobby, and it is not. Others don’t see that Wicca is a tiny proportion of pagan practices, religious theology and witchcraft. A lack of proper study gets on my nerves, especially when they have access to so much and refuse to look it up. This is not a quick fix.

Growing up I had a lot of religious freedom to a point, so long as I didn’t venture out into the ‘real world’ too much. I still adhere to particular customs from my Adventist and Jewish upbringing, but I was open to other Christian paths, especially that of the Anglican Church and the old customs of magick from Jamaica from family members. To a child it was all fun and superstition, but as I got older and started my pagan path officially I realised there was truth to a lot of what I was taught. I used to make potions from mud and various flowers. I casted magick circles without realising they were a part of some pagan practices, I was told all I had to do was pray to God whilst walking a circle three times – at age 6! By the time I was well into my second year as a student witch I had collected around five or six folders full of information, lessons, spells, glossaries, rituals and alphabets. I read up on them. I bought books of all kinds, mainly from olde and new age titles, as well as academic history books to reaffirm the practices and my personal identity.

For me, witchcraft is a big part of my life, my beliefs are what help me focus in life. I didn’t meet any formal practitioners until I was around 18/19 years old. I met a lovely Buddhist monk who introduced me to lots of monks, old friends, nuns and books. I met a ton of Wiccans, Witches and Pagan folks on social networking websites and Youtube. I am glad to know men within the OTO, various Hermetic Orders and other magick systems (all non-Wiccan) who in the last few months have been helping me out by viewing my videos and emailing me later to say if my message was okay or not. Thanks to the internet I taught myself a lot. The reason I vlog is to hopefully inspire and help at least one person in a way that I never had. I know I’m not the fun type, my videos are pretty monotone and full of the theory that people just don’t care about, but what I grumble on about is the stuff that separates true practitioners from the ones who will practice a little and become born again Christians in later life. I cannot help you, I can only help myself, regardless of how sad, lonely or fulfilling it is. I just hope that at least someone other than my fabulous friends will say I helped them understand the jargon, or a life lesson in magick.

The facts, theory and history side of things help shape my identity as I mentioned briefly before, because I’m lucky I can retrace my ancestors steps and reaffirm to those unlearned pagans out there that I have just as much right to practice what I want, when I want with proof. I’m a very deep rooted nerd =P If you don’t put in the effort, how far do you expect to go? The lessons you can learn can be found in book shops, Youtube and on the internet. Learn the little things first, like authors names, how to pronounce the Sabbats, learn the meanings of words in various glossaries and learn the basics of astrology. Once you have that, move onto writing up your own spells according to the method you are most happy with. You folks of today have so much at your fingertips, so learn as much as you can; sift the good from the bad and you will go so far.

Another thing which I take huge pride in is the fact that I extended beyond the circle of Wicca and embraced a witchy lifestyle instead which rewards me with freedom. People who watch one of two of my videos assume I’m a Wiccan and I am not. I haven’t been Wiccan for a little while now. I have kept my eyes open to the things around me, taught myself to not only understand what it is like to have an open mind, but to have one regardless. Once I started vlogging my thoughts and theories on subjects, I had opened a doorway to lots of people are there to seek a strangers’ opinion. I get things wrong, but I’m not afraid to admit it, as I’m human and I make mistakes. Be wary that whatever you learn over the years will have effects on your practice, fingers crossed in a nice way, but if you open these customs up to the world there are some individuals who will put you down, or worse expect you to personally teach them when you know you can’t. I’m not a teacher in any way, just a vlogger airing lessons I’ve learnt and making friends. My practice and beliefs come first in all things; Youtube comes much later down the line. Live for now, live for yourself and be smart.

This post is very odd, I apologise, it is 3am and I haven’t planned it out well… hopefully it is okay!

Sy x

Post script… I was chatting with Uni Witch and he agreed with me on the religious front that Paganism is not a religion, just an umbrella term, so why do people call Paganism a religion? Thoughts people!


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I Spy on Sigils in the Mind

Runic sigil

Do you ever wake up after an intense dream with a burning message from the Gods? I only know of a few people who have experienced symbols being delivered to them, from the Gods or other entities, in dreams. I don’t know what it is, but I find answers to my questions in my dreams. I guess that’s just basic psychology, but when the answer is an image paired with the voice, feeling, face or journey of a particular deity I’ve either worked with, or never met, that goes beyond just mere psychology; it is divine. I often lucid dream (and wow they are annoying leaving me with a bad headache afterwards) but I find they are the most effective form of receiving dream messages. I have no idea what that process is called, and at the moment I don’t want to yet.

Working with sigils has been one of my favourite forms of divination and spirit contact for a number of years. The more complex the design, the more it uncovers for the magickal architect. The ways I have designed, or more traditionally been shown have awakened parts of my being I would normally hide or never fully revel in. In other words, without some of the symbols used, I would never be the positive and eager student I am now. Through symbols, linguistics and magick I am able to learn things most would overlook, but the symbols I am aware of don’t just live in runes, or tarot or the Hebrew alphabet. They are so much deeper, and you can unlock those mysteries too. All you need is guidance, magick, power, faith and patience. There are three ways to obtain the messages from sigils and symbols, and each one is an opening to the amazing insights into a newer destination.

Many books will teach you various ways to use the runic alphabets, Theban and Enochian alphabet to create sigils for many uses, most commonly to create a seal of protection for your magickal items. It doesn’t take long to memorise an alphabet by heart, and once you do never stop practicing. I’ll go into words and letters on a later post, as letters alone have their own intense meanings behind them. When you study the runic alphabets, you may run up a list of letters for your name, or a word to enhance a specific energetic will such as ‘peace’ or ‘love’, or a more complex phrase to ward off negative energies like ‘Away with bad habits’. Look at one set and study them. You will then look at other examples, two of which are found in the Big Blue Book by Raymond Buckland or UBOS by Silver Ravenwolf.

Look back at the runes that make up your name, and play around with their positioning. Does one fit with another along similar lines? Does one work perfectly if you flip it upside down and fit it at the top of the two you’ve put together? When you look at the image you have created so far, is there one letter that is practically invisible within the structure? And so on. Before you know it, you’ll have an image like the picture above. You can use that image to create an empowered sigil of protection for your BOS, tools or a possible tattoo (though I highly recommend you do not get any sigils tattooed on you unless you know what they mean, and if you know they won’t invite harm to you). You can do the same with a good sourcebook with correspondences’ and symbols to create other sigils, talismans, amulets’ or seals. At the same time, just knowing about already known signs and symbols for magickal use is fine too, unless you ask for divine help to find the answer you are looking for.

When working with magick and signs, be wary that if you don’t have the full background knowledge on a lot of symbols you come across, you could mess up your working, or worse, open up access for other beings to cross over. Some entities will want to help you out, whilst others will want to terrorize you for the sake of it. Most of the time, without proper instruction, the sigil you hope would work won’t work as well as you hoped because it wasn’t charged properly or enough. The use of sigils for guidance goes as far back in history as ever, long before words were ever written. There are many ways the symbols behind certain complex designs are used are to remind you of a lesson you have learnt, to tell stories or to help focus your mind to unlock secrets, some examples would be mandalas’ or the images of Buddhist deities holding particular tools. When you come across particular symbols that seem to appear to you when you least expect them to, is your subconscious’ way of telling you that it is meant for you. You end up asking yourself what the symbol is, and why you were drawn to it. Not to worry, you have Dr. Google to give you a hand. Find a decent sourcebook of some type like The Illustrated Signs & Symbols Sourcebook by Adele Nozedar and that should be enough for you to work out what the symbols mean.

The last way for you to obtain particular designs, besides creating them and letting yourself be aware of the signs around you, is to let the Universe send you one. I’ve always been open to just sitting and talking to the Gods about my problems because they listen and always make me feel valued, even if they don’t need to actually concentrate on what I’m blabbing about. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been on fantastic journeys in my dreams, and more so once I learnt to meditate or summon dreams before sleep. I also found, after very tense meditations in which I recite mantra 108 times or more, after undergoing yoga beforehand, I open myself to the Universe for divine lessons or help. One dream that occurs quite a lot, well it did until the beginning of this year, was of myself in yet another desert with a turquoise hue dropping rocks on the ground as I walked toward a wooded mirage ahead. For some reason I would repeat my steps except this time I would stop and look at the stones and focus on one or a small few. Each having their own signs on them, mainly Egyptian or Greek, but at any given time one symbol would stay on my mind for so long I’d wake up and draw it in my little notebook by the bed. I would then look it up in my books, but it wasn’t until I found it that the message would be clear.

This morning, I had a dream that awoke me at 2am. For most of the day now, I have been drawing the symbol or seal that I have been given. So far I have been deciding where to put the colours I’ve been seeing in my dreams over the past few weeks. It has been a weird few weeks, due to a ritual I did just over a month ago, and each and every time I have done a small meditation to try and concentrate the image I saw, it keeps on getting clearer each time. It’s a simple design, made up of symbols with lovely meanings. So far, I know it is most definitely for me, and a particular God. I have also started on a design of my own, where it consists in some of the signs used in what I would call prototype #1 for elemental uses for magick. It looks so cool at the moment, but when the time comes to empower it and perhaps open it, who knows what will happen. Either way, signs are exciting and they always will be.

That’s magick!

What are your experiences with sigils, signs and symbols? Maybe I’ll do a video… as this is taken from a chapter in my future publications =]

Sy x


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Spiritual Interview | WayfaringJo

Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/user/WayfaringJo?feature=watch

What gave you the idea for your username?

I’ve called myself Wayfarin’ Jo because this life is a pilgrimage, we’re on a journey. I don’t know where we’re going, but that’s not as important as HOW we get there… For example, peace is not just an end, it is both the means and the end. The same with love, it is both the means and the end… Anyhow. I’m a student and a seeker, always have been, always will be. (What a long-winded way to say; “I’m nosey!” lol!)

Have you always been magickal?

Yes. Have I always been magickal? Define magic? I’ve always been in touch with the Divine, from my earliest days. I’ve always believed that everything that breathes is animated, sentient, has a soul and power – I’ve always been pantheistic —> the one tradition that runs through every religion, interestingly enough. Not sure where I got those ideas, when neither of my parents believe them, when no one in my family believes them. But I remember having them from the time I was 5 or 6 on.

What got you started, and why?

I was born to an Anglican priest and a Roman Catholic mom. My first favorite tv series was “Kung Fu”. And we always spent our vacations on the Cherokee Indian Rez… My earliest years were formed with a healthy respect for all religions, races, cultures. So, I’ve never been afraid to ask questions, of anybody. In fact, I’ve been driven to ask questions of everybody! Truth is truth, and wisdom is wisdom, wherever you find it. And when you find it, when you practice and it works, it’s always a healing joy for you and everybody else.

If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?

My path, at this point, is Zen, informed by both the Episcopal tradition and my ancestors’ Asatru practice. The Buddha has taught us, our prime directive is to relieve suffering. Unfortunately, there are no Buddhists in Cincinnati who are practicing social justice. They are meditating and collecting money. So, when I looked around Cincinnati, I found that the Episcopal Church is practicing social justice, saving homeless shelters from being torn down, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc. So I joined my practice with theirs. Lucky me, they have a Zen mass, so I feel more at home!… My path is flexible, it depends much more on action than on words. Doctrinarism does not unify, it divides – it does not heal, it rips apart. love and healing are the same in every language, smile and someone will smile back, tear your loaf of bread in half and hand it over the hungry person understands you care… Magick is about transformation, turning water (ordinary) into wine (extraordinary), or as the Buddhists say; Kwan Yin transforms the Hells into Paradise. Nothing is more transformative than a healing act… So it doesn’t matter if Zen exists, it doesn’t matter if Episcopal or Asatru or any religious path exists – transformative love and healing exists everywhere and in every language.

What is my secret to staying spiritual? – I’ve always been obsessed with spirituality, ever since my earliest years, even as a toddler. I don’t know why? Everyone in my family has been, I suspect some of it is nature and some of it is nurture… It doesn’t help my obsession either, that I’ve always been haunted. Everywhere I go, I experience ghosts or spirits. For the longest time, I thought religion would be able to tell me something about these experiences, tell me something about these spirits – but I’ve never found any answers that really satisfy. Not in any religion, not in regard to the topic of hauntings’ anyway… But I have found this satisfying and it is what propels my journeying these days; if religion doesn’t help me get out of bed in the morning, if it doesn’t help me cope when my neighbour gets on my last nerve, if it doesn’t move my hands to create a better world than the one I entered then it’s worthless and I won’t waste my time. Real religion isn’t so much about “other worlds” as it is about transforming this one.

And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh?… You’re going to get two answers for this one question. My first answer is this; It’s harsh. My baptismal vows, which are renewed every year, call me to “respect the dignity of every human being.” I would be forbidden to call someone a ‘fluffy bunny’, ‘flaming pagan’, ‘Jesus-Freak’, ‘Rag-head’, ‘Greedy Jew’, etc… My second answer, however, is that we learn a lot from these words. We learn a lot more from our enemies sometimes than we do our friends, because their criticisms are often a lot more honest, even if sharp and cutting. We do well to listen to all voices, to learn from them all. Sometimes, our best practice is take a derogatory title that is flung at us and make it a “reclaimed” word. For example, a lot of pagans today prefer to take the name “Witch” and wear it proudly. They’ve taken the name back, reclaimed it and turned it from something shameful into something honourable. Laurie Cabot’s website calls her the “Official Witch of Salem”, and Laurie for her part, dresses the part of a Witch every where she goes – regardless of the ridicule and the praise, she remains the same. I love that about her. It’s a very Zen quality, she takes the ridicule and the praise with equanimity, neither changes her. She is what she is and she retains her dignity either way. :o)

I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why? 

I’ve been in this situation many times, in different ways…My first reaction has always been the same. To call on my ancestors and the Divine to surround me, encircle me for protection. Then, to call on my community. And take whatever measures necessary for self-defence. At times, I have been ready to kill in self-defence or in defence of an innocent. I have never taken offensive measures, always defensive measures; mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually… But I want to tell one specific story.

Talk about negative energy, and someone going out of their way to upset & hurt me? I was a college intern, working at Church of Our Saviour for Rev. Paula Jackson. One day, our church received a threat that went like this; “I’m a Promise Keeper (fundamentalist Christian), and I promise you this; if you don’t throw the gay trash out to the curb, I’m going to firebomb your church.”… Our doors were (and are still) open to everyone; gay, straight, rich, poor, educated, under-educated, cross-dressing or transsexual, black, white, Hispanic, etc. And all of these people show up! Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote; “the most segregated hour in the USA is the church hour”. Half a century later, it’s still true, but NOT at Church of Our Saviour… This threat was a horrific trauma for me. It opened my eyes to the world of Christian Terrorism and it to all of the violence and blood within the Christian realms of Bible and Ritual. I got to where I couldn’t read the Bible, I couldn’t hear the Mass without gagging. And I sat in the pew in complete apprehension, in fear, waiting for the KA-BOOOM!, waiting for the breaking glass and screams of all the people I loved. Eventually, I had to leave, in fear, in resentment, in disgust… In the meanwhile, here’s Rev. Paula Jackson, a straight woman, a woman with a husband and 3 kids to love and protect, continuing to enter that church every day, faithfully, regardless. And it didn’t matter that the threat was credible, that local Jewish synagogues had been vandalised or that our local Islamic mosque was indeed bombed. Paula wasn’t going to be intimidated, she wasn’t going to let some prejudiced jerk stand alone to define Christianity in his way to the exclusion of others, she opened the doors of her Church to EVERYONE, day in and day out regardless. She’s my hero for that, my living Saint. After years of wandering through my ancestor’s Asatru and through Zen, I came back to Church of Our Saviour and to my Saint. As I’ve said before, I came back because religion is supposed to heal and transform the world, not just people, but all of ecology. And when I looked around Cincinnati, it was Church of Our Saviour that is doing that. If I were in Wisconsin, I’d probably be with Selena Fox’s pagan community, because Selena’s community is healing and transforming Wisconsin. If I were in California, I’d be with Thich Nhat Hanh’s Zen community, because his community is working social justice. To heal the world, to transform the world, we go to where the Saints are; like Selena Fox, Thich Nhat Hanh, Rev. Paula Jackson. Where they are is where thunder is happening, where the earth is shaking, where some people are rejoicing because change is happening and others are hailing down death threats because change is happening. (I’d be willing to bet Selena got death threats for going to the Supreme Court to have the Pentacle issued for USA military grave stones.) The question is; do we believe in that transformation enough, do we believe in that healing enough to risk our very lives?… I do. It took me YEARS to get to that point. But I do. I pass the test. Because to this day, my church receives threats, my Priest receives threats, I do too. And twice a week, I walk into that church with my Priest. And on occasion, we do protests together. like this one to save a homeless shelter from a corporation that wants to tear it down so they can “develop” the land;
http://www.wvxu.org/news/wvxunews_article.asp?ID=9924

Along with the link to the article which you can see, I’ve sent an attachment, a photo of my beloved Priest at the same protest.

Mtr. Paula @ Western Southern Protest

Link: http://www.wvxu.org/news/wvxunews_article.asp?ID=9924&fb_source=message


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Spiritual Interview | Erriender Ravenheart

Enjoy the words of this beautiful Wiccan lady, I tell you, she is awesome! =P

http://www.youtube.com/user/ErrienderRavenheart

What gave you the idea for your username?
My username is also my spiritual name, Erriender Ravenheart. I chose this name when I committed myself to following Wicca. It is how I identify myself as a spiritual and magickal being. I use this name in spiritual circles and to sign any spiritual journaling that I do.
I took a long time to pick the name. I am very connected with my star sign and element (Libra/Air) and so I started there. The first part of the name is meant to sound like the word ‘air’ but it looked better overall when spelt with an E! The latter part of the word comes from ‘lavender’ as it has always been a plant that I work closely with, even before I started down my spiritual path. When you put the whole thing together, it brings to mind the scent of lavender on a cool spring breeze. Or at least it does to me!
The second name is more straightforward but it has a significant meaning to me. I picked the raven as a sign of the magickal path. It is a bird that is thought to be able to cross the boundaries of the physical plane and the spiritual plane. That is how I felt at the time, like I was exploring the spiritual realms. Discovering Wicca filled me with a religious and spiritual passion that I never saw myself finding. It felt like the raven had been awoken in my heart and was bursting out to carry my forward on my spiritual path and to assure a safe journey. Hence the second name of Ravenheart.

Have you always been magickal?
Growing up, looking back on it now, I used to practise what I now think might have been ‘sympathetic magick’ and the concept that like attracts like. I used to concoct ‘love potions’ to attract a guy by combining sweet smelling bath scents in a bottle and tying a ribbon around it. Obviously as a kid, you don’t really know what you’re doing and I don’t think I honestly took any of it seriously. But maybe it was a sign that I was destined to learn about real magick.
When I was a little older, in secondary school, I was still attracted to the idea of spells and potions but again, never really taking any of it seriously and sometimes even laughing at myself for trying. A friend came in to school one day and she had burned her arm on her straighteners. She asked if there was a ‘spell’ to help her. I did some kind of elemental spell by combining a leaf, a feather, some sand from the long jump pitch *cringe* and some bottled water. I can’t remember the exact of it but I just know that my friend swore that it helped speed the healing process.
So who knows? Maybe I was just messing around in the way kids do when they are growing up, but maybe it was a sign that I was always meant to find this path.

What got you started, and why?
A friend of a friend, a little older than myself, told me about it in school one day. I had always thought she was a little bit weird and eccentric and I was so completely sceptic when she called herself a ‘Witch’. But for some reason I couldn’t get it out of my mind. For the next few weeks I just did some internet research on Wicca and Witchcraft and I was captivated. The ‘magickal’ side of it all was the last thing on my mind though. It was the lifestyle that it evokes and the moral guidelines that I loved. Combined with the freedom of ‘do what thou will’ I knew this was something I wanted to learn more about. I studied intensely for a year or more, buying books on the craft and working up the courage to ask this girl more questions. In the end I just couldn’t deny it anymore. I was a Wiccan and I wanted to admit it to myself and to my family.
Then I came out to my Mom and Dad, I did a small ‘self-dedication’ ritual and I have been a whole new person since then.

Do you see it as something you’ll continue to develop in 5 years or so?
I know now that this path is a huge part of who I am. And I have always believed that you can never stop learning about anything. I learn more about my path and more about myself every day. The people that I have met through the various online communities have played a huge part in that. Sharing their experiences and my own, I know that I will always have the opportunity to expand what I already know and enjoy the journey through other’s experiences of the craft. As long as I live, I know that my path and therefore everything that I am will continue to evolve.

If your path didn’t exist, what would you follow?
I don’t know where I would be now if I had never found a name for what it is that I believe in. I didn’t know that there was a kind of religion that didn’t follow a strict set of rules that had already been laid out in a holy book of some kind. The freedom to choose how to practise and how to express your love of life and the divine is a huge part of why I consider myself to be a Wiccan. I’m not sure that I would have found a way to channel my spiritual self and maybe, had I not turned down this path, I would now be an unsatisfied agnostic. I would hope that I could have found a way of being spiritual at the very least, without finding a specific religious alignment.
As it stands, I do use teachings and mythological stories from several religions and ancient religions, to teach me more about life and myself. Perhaps some sort of collaborative religion with a lengthy confusing title would form that I could fit under!

What is your secret to staying spiritual?
To be honest, I find myself drifting from time to time and getting the feeling of being disconnected. But I guess that to stay spiritual, you have to realise that the divine is all around you and that you are a manifestation of that same divine force. It’s not as simple as just saying it or reading it, but really knowing that and feeling it inside you. It’s easy to forget that we are all Gods and Goddesses. But by believing in ourselves and knowing – and I mean really knowing – that we have the power to overcome any obstacle and to carve out our own destinies, that we will always be spiritual beings.
Also, one thing that I’ve noticed recently, is how much more I get out of life by taking time just to observe the world going by. Catching the gaze of a bird when I’m walking down the street, or appreciating the silence when it’s too early for people to be up – they are very enlightening moments. I get a very uplifting feeling from noticing these sacred moments every day that I can’t put into words.

What do you think of labels in a general sense?
They have their ups and downs. I am very much split down the middle on this one. On one hand, it’s great to have a sense of community and to feel like you have something in common with others when you go by the same ‘label’. However, ‘labels’ can be associated with so much prejudice that they are often just as likely to evoke hate and cause segregation. Whether it’s football teams or religious views, they either bring you together or drive you apart.

And do you think labels such as ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘flaming pagan’ are okay or harsh? (Fluffy bunny is used to describe new people to the craft, and flaming pagan is used for over the top pagans):
I dislike it when the term ‘fluffy bunny’ is used to describe solely new people. It evokes a sense of willful ignorance and someone whose intentions are not in the right place. New people to the craft should be embraced and helped wholeheartedly to find their own path and sense of belonging. However, I do use the term myself but under different circumstances. I think that there are people who get interested in paths such as Wicca and Witchcraft for very wrong reasons and I’ve seen it up close and personal one too many times. There are people who use it just to look mysterious or intimidate people, for attention or to be unique. It infuriates me that they have such little respect for the religion. And it is these people that I refer to as ‘bunnies’ because they just can’t be taken seriously as they themselves don’t take this path seriously. I think these people earn that title.

I’ll put you in a scenario. If someone sent you negative energy or went out their way to upset/hurt you, what would you do, and why?
In an ideal situation, the way to handle that kind of incident is to rise above it. I haven’t always dealt with life in this way though. For a long time I was incredibly sensitive and prone to drama-queen style strops if someone upset me. But it was embarrassing! It really is cringe worthy to think how childish it was to use techniques like ‘the silent treatment’ to make a statement about how it was affecting me. Acting out like that though, only causes you to feel worse in yourself. By reflecting negative energy, you actively fill your surroundings with negative vibes that maintain your bad mood. These days, I’m pretty good at just shaking things off. If something really gets to me, I like to vent with a good friend over coffee and then laugh it off later. Sometimes it takes meditation or a combination until I put myself at ease. The main thing though, is not to reflect. You just have to move away from the situation as soon as you can. Things only get to you if you let them! ‘Rise above’ is my official mission statement these days. I can’t say I manage it every time – no one is perfect! I certainly try though.


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Who Gave You the Honour?

I wonder, as I’ve studied and researched my path and others for a few years now and I haven’t yet come across the part where you give yourself a title according to the deity you honour. I have met high priests and priestesses, who by right were given their titles from their coven’s predecessor. It has been written many times through the personal tales of such ceremonies, or even initiations that you are given lessons, titles or even judgments by someone of a higher title than you. That is all well and good if you are part of a coven like I mentioned, but I am solitary and would therefore see myself as I am, not a priestess, but merely a child of the Gods or better still a solitary witch.

This thought came to me during a conversation with Phoenix, and we both pondered on how and why someone who isn’t in a coven gives themselves such a title. If you were to give yourself such a title, when would you, why and how? I would love to know your thoughts on such a subject. The more I watch people on this path, and the more I read on blogs about the lives of some of these folks, the more I notice they name themselves a priest or priestess after reading less than five books and watching a load of youtube videos. A lot of people believe knowledge is pure when it is in written form, whilst others believe knowledge can only be gained through words and practice. I prefer the latter, both books and practice. I have only read a few books, most of which have been listed up top under the ‘Book list’ tab, and worked with many of the spells, meditations, mantras and rituals within them. I feel I have learnt a great deal from them, and for that I am honoured and proud of my concentration.

The world of magick is vast, and spans throughout time and I intend to learn what the Gods instruct me to learn. The experiences I’ve had during contact rituals, meditations and works within a sacred magick circle (which I shall explain later) have given me insights to the energies the world yields within its crevices and my tools. The last time I did a meditation, a very simple Kundalini meditation with mantra made me feel I was being sucked into the ground beneath me. It was a yoga session, with only six students including myself. The yogi instructed us to recite mantras to open and cleanse our lower base chakras, but she had us concentrate only on eight of them all located at the feet, within the ground right up to the base chakra. I felt so relaxed, but once we stopped mantra just to concentrate on the feeling of the chakra’s opening I felt a sudden need to let my body float with the flow of energy around me. Gentle rocking came about me, though the yogi confirmed she didn’t see me shake or sway at all saying, “It is all within. The snake is making itself familiar with you.” It is words like that, which confirm my hard work and study have taken me down the right path; the Gods do truly listen to me, like they listen to you.

There are other ways in which I connect to the Gods, whether it is through prayer, devotion or libation, but whichever way I choose to worship them, I never expect anything from them. I love them and that’s all they need to know. When I work magick, I find it easy most days and really take a lot of correspondences into consideration. Many modern people will state you don’t need tools or correspondences unless a printed spell asks you to. Many other people will say, if you follow a particular path such as Wicca you must study without magick for a year and a day. With these guidelines and tossing away of old practises, then surely giving yourself a title informally counts too, correct? It is lovely to know, within the world of magick you are free to do anything you please, to a point, and that includes throwing away old customs in order to fit into this modern age. Some people, like myself, enjoy the old tomes and the new ones and we are curious like cats. If I come across a subject in a Wiccan book or from a Wiccan point of view, I will take my time to research where this individual got their ideas from. Sadly, that is a custom only a handful of Wiccan authors have suggested their readers should do. But since this is a ‘New age’ it is only natural to claim a title after reading two or three books cover to cover.

I was given an example from Phoenix which made me ponder even more. A Christian man is bored of his life and leaves town for a night. He stops in a motel, pulls out his bible and reads a few Psalms. He feels even more bored with his life and makes a quick decision. When he gets back he struts through town and introduces himself as an Arch Bishop and people follow. Easy peasy. I see that happening in this world, but weirdly not the old one. See why I’m a little bewildered? If it is that easy to claim a title as a solitary practitioner then why bother with the formalities, or magick itself.

If you decide on claiming a title with the formalities, by doing rituals or praying for confirmation dreams from the chosen deity/deities you honour, then I personally believe you can claim that title once they give you a sign. I’m an old school thinker like that. I feel that I’m not ready to proclaim what I know after all these years as I still regard myself as a student and a beginner on all paths. I’ve many experiences with energies, deities and dreams to know when the Gods are happy or unhappy with me. It’s simple really. When you look at the clouds moving across the sky, or watch the rain as it falls, the Gods are there in motion around you and in you. You want to connect, and over time you learn how and that’s the most beautiful start to a divine relationship. I think you would have to do more reading, far more practice and gain a further understanding about the pantheon your Matron and Patron belong to, as well as what magick means in this modern age and to yourself before you claim a title. Being spiritual isn’t meant to be easy. It is part of life, and everyone knows life is a struggle, a lesson you must learn. At the stage that I am right now, I can say with a hand on my heart, if I were to claim the title as Priestess, the many Gods I honour would be pissed. I’m at a permanent junction as I honour many Gods in individual moments, and if any of their stories are anything to go by, they wouldn’t like me very much =P

Answer me this, since I’m stuck: How would you claim a title if you haven’t been given one formally and why would you? Would it make you feel confident and proud of what you have learnt? Or claiming a title purely for aesthetic and egoistic reasons?


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When Magick and Jealousy Don’t Mix

You know when you do spells for particular situations or events that seem completely in your favour, that turn out to be part of something much bigger and unknown to you, how do you deal with them?

I’ll give you an example of how my childish persistence mixed with a shot of God and Goddess went wrong, and how I managed to learn a lesson about magick.

A while ago, back in my young and bill free world I wanted a particular girl to leave my friend alone. This friend of a friend was taking my friend away from me, or at least that is what I saw. My friend who I shall call Annie, had been friends with me for a few years, her new friend who I shall call Ms. Vindictive made it clear that she didn’t like me, or how close Annie and I were. The first time I told Annie about my concern over how little she hung out with me she shrugged it off, and said I didn’t need to feel left out as we would meet up sometime. I didn’t get any calls or texts from Annie for weeks and it hurt. I remember sitting in my room and just pondering on the idea of putting a spell on Ms. Vindictive so she could leave Annie alone, or stay away long enough for Annie to realise she had other friends too.  I did a tarot card reading and it was revealed that I shouldn’t get involved, and that I should be patient and go about making friends with other people. I didn’t like that outcome and decided on a spell plan.

I only had to wait 2 days for the New Moon, and I asked the Gods to make Ms. Vindictive be gone. I must say, the build up to that night made me feel guilty as hell. I should have listened to my gut response, but I perused it anyway. Every time I lit a candle and turned to pick up something whether it was a tool or the paper on which I inscribed Ms. Vindictive’s name and my reasons for her to leave my friendship alone, something would go wrong. Candles would blow out; others wouldn’t allow me to light them. What could have taken 20 minutes took an hour, but I managed to complete it in the end.

For the course of 2 weeks lots of things started going wrong. Animals would run away from me. Anytime I tried to contact Annie she would say she was busy, and she began to notice my dislike and jealous feelings toward Ms. Vindictive. I’d always be distracted during devotions to Cernunnos and I suddenly realised. After school one day I prayed to Cernunnos to ask why so many bad things were happening. My fear of being friendless yet again got a hold of me and the thought of losing the one person I finally felt normal around was disappearing.

Annie and I would argue over the following weeks, Ms. Vindictive was getting herself involved too. I wanted my friend, but not even Cernunnos would help. I would do tarot readings looking for a sign and all I got was messages of hurt and pain. What I didn’t realise at the time was that the pain didn’t belong to me. By then I gave up on our friendship and just stayed away. They had parties, went shopping and Annie even took up a hobby that I tried to share with her that she made clear would never amount to anything. It was devastating.

I went to my old altar and asked Cernunnos and Cerridwen to forgive me, and to help me remove the hurt from my mind. I got on with my studies and things slowly went back to normal. A few weeks later, I bumped into Annie who was sitting in town looking all worn out and upset. I said hi and asked how she was, but she wasn’t all that civil. I found out she started starving herself because Ms. Vindictive did when she was harming herself, and found out she was feeling guilty for Ms. Vindictive’s behaviour at their parties. Ms. Vindictive taught Annie how to cut herself, how to live on a small diet and lots of alcohol, and how to pick up plenty of guys. Annie said it was all fun at first, but it began to strain on her relationships with her boyfriend, parents and her oldest friends. A few of Annie’s friends had told her they didn’t like Ms. Vindictive all that much either, but they did something I didn’t do, they gave Annie the freedom to explore her friendship until it ran its course.

Ms. Vindictive and Annie stayed friends for a while, but the closer they became the more crazy life was and eventually they stopped being friends. By then I had learnt to move on and I had to learn to be by myself again. We continued talking for another year but our friendship fizzled out too.

I was alone, but I knew I had the Gods around me. At the time, and to this day, I always ask them for advice or help when I can’t deal with something by myself. They are my universal parents, my guardians and my teachers. If you ever feel compelled to take revenge or banish/curse someone your best bet is to hone in on that guilty feeling in your tummy and ask the Gods for help. Do not assume that you can get the better of someone just because you know how to tap into nature’s energies, those energies will manifest and pay you back at some point down the line.

Be careful with magick and tying in too much emotion into something you haven’t looked at properly. If I hadn’t cast the spell and just stood in the background, I wouldn’t have felt so negative all the time. I would have seen that Annie was stuck with a girl who was damaged, and I probably could have become friends with her or shown Annie my door was always open. Who knows, we could have still been friends today. The jealousy blinded me to the real issue at hand and that is something I’ll never forget.

Sy x x